Friday, April 13, 2018

Step Into (Not Onto) My Shoes

The purpose of this blog is to generate some sympathy for teenagers - and their parents. (Please like it, tweet it, forward).
Step Into My Shoes bookTalked to a teenager lately?

Ever been aggravated by one?

This post may be for you.

First, the book on the left.

Just published by two mothers, it is a refreshing, inspired, inspiring, pragmatic (and well-written) read for anyone looking for a Jewish approach to parenting a teen.

(Please click on the image to see it on Amazon.)

Second, on that theme, here's a true story you could try sharing at your dinner table tonight, with 3 questions.

This morning someone mentioned that they are taking their son to their temple's mandatory Bnai Mitzvah Shabbat retreat.

Sounded fun until he mentioned that the son has less than zero interest in attending.

So why are they going?

Well, "mandatory" means that if you don't attend, they cancel your bar mitzvah.

First question for your table - Is this a case of laudable hardball rabbi-ing, or is it an "oy va-voy"?

I asked, "Does he want to have the bar mitzvah?"

"Oh yes, he does."

"What does that mean to him?"

"Well, I'm not sure he's going to be ready to read from the Torah, so I don't know. I guess it's mainly the party."

Second question for your table: Should we force our teens to do things they don't want to do? Or should they be able to pick and choose? Is this one of those times?

So I said, "What about creating a super meaningful backyard bar mitzvah at the time of your choosing (and not when it fits the Temple calendar)?"
Many people don't know that an at-home bar mitzvah can be perfectly kosher (sometime even more kosher). And probably saves money too.

Question 3: If someone could have a more enjoyable, perfectly kosher, 100% meaningful bar mitzvah at home, is there a downside?

(I've personally run a few of these, they were wonderful and as far as I know, there were no regrets.)

Today's Table Talk is the first in a series on the subject of our wonderful teens and parenting them.

Next week, the smart phone edition.

In the meantime,

Shabbat Shalom

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